Nostalgia Sunday – Adloyada-yada-yada

Could it be true that the Adloyada Purim parade is returning to Tel Aviv? According to Ahbar HaIr (City Mouse) weekly, there’s a grassroots movement forming among last summer’s Social Welfare Protest organizers to bring the legendary celebration back to its birthplace and natural habitat. Finally! A concrete aspect to the nebulous Protest — and one that I can back one hundred percent.

Briefly put, the phrase “Adloyada” comes from “ad lo yada” or “unable to differentiate”, referring to the Purim tradition of drinking until one is unable to tell the difference between evil Haman and good Mordechai. The first Adloyada parade was held in 1912 in Tel Aviv and continued until 1936. It was reestablished in the 1950s and shut down again in the 1960s. In the early 80s, the Sheinkin Adloyada came and went — fast and furious like the punk music that inspired it — and that was it. Until now.

(The full background to the Adloyada’s historic Tel Aviv roots — and its relationship to debonair choreographer and filmmaker Baruch Agadati — may be found here).

Last week, the organizers of this latest incarnation put in a request to make the renewed Adloyada an official Tel Aviv municipal event but received no response. No matter. “We don’t need permission from the establishment to go out and party,” city council member Sharon Louzon told Ahbar HaIr.

Well said — and probably the right attitude as it doesn’t look like municipality is going to back the revival any time soon. “The Adloyada was cancelled for two principle reasons,” ran the official municipal statement quoted by Ahbar HaIr, “budget and logistical complications that shut down the city almost entirely on a day of heavy traffic. In addition, it should be noted that the city of Holon hosts a very successful event, and we think it would not be right to enter into a competition as there is a concurrent event only 10 minutes driving distance away.”

Holon! Sacrilege!

The public procession is scheduled to start this coming Thursday at 11:00 AM at the end of Ibn Gabirol Boulevard (corner of HaYarkon Park) and will proceed southwards towards Rothschild Boulevard, Allenby Street, Levinsky Park and the New Central Bus Station, ending at Hatikva Park at around 3:00 PM.

More photos of Adloyadas gone by may be viewed here – plus see below for some rare footage from the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive. You can check out the Holon Adloyada from last year (also below) — it looks very fun, actually, and I think Agadati would have appreciated the Rio carnival dancers.

Purim Sameach! Have a happy Purim holiday!

Adloyada 1932

Adloyada 1960

Holon Adloyada 2011

Loving Israel through its music

Infected Mushroom will be mesmerizing the US and UK bloggers this week in Tel Aviv.

It’s not a new idea, but it’s a really good one. For the last few years, government offices like the Foreign Ministry and Tourism Ministry, and private advocacy initiatives like ISRAEL21c, StandwithUS and the Israel Project, have been flying over journalists, policy makers and celebrities to Israel. Their aim? To show them the Israel that we write about – the vibrant country behind the headlines that’s leading the way in high tech, innovation and the arts.

It’s a great idea because you can’t get every person to come and visit Israel, but if one popular blogger comes over and gets a good impression of the country, then everyone who follows that blogger is going to be reading about Israel in a different light.

A new player in the game is Kinetis – a young Tel Aviv-based advocacy organization that aims to promote Israel as a vibrant and inspirational source of creativity and innovation. Their pet project focuses on bloggers and is called Vibe Israel.

Previous Vibe Israel trips have focused on ‘mommy bloggers’ and design bloggers, and this week, their third group has landed, consisting of five popular music bloggers.

• Rebecca Schiller of the New Musical Express from London,
• New York’s Samantha Edussuriya of MTV Iggy
• Luke Britton of This Fake/DIY from the UK
• Rory Hamilton of Feel My Bicep from Scotland
• and Brandon Bogajewicz of The Burning Ear, blogging from California.

Collectively, they boast over nine million readers.

Their week-long visit, which encompasses the Mardi Gras-like atmosphere of Purim, includes meeting a slew of top Israeli musical talent including Koby Farhi, the frontman for Orphaned Land, Idan Raichel, Geva Alon and Ivri Lider. The group will also attend a Purim show by Mashina and Infected Mushroom in Tel Aviv.

There’s no way they’re going to come away with a bad impression of them, or of Israeli music in general, and maybe, with their clout, it could start a groundswell that will push the names of some of them into the international spotlight. And if not, the bloggers’ posts from their week in Israel will surely open the eyes of their readers to the astounding variety of world class music we have here.

Embracing Maccabi Tel Aviv

After living in Israel for over 26 years, there’s not many times I can say that I did something for the first time. But this week, I did indeed attend my first Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball game.

Maccabi Tel Aviv is the Yankees, Lakers and Cowboys of Israeli sport, all rolled into one.
With 5 European Championships, 49 Israeli Championships, 39 Israeli Cups, and 3 League Cups, Maccabi has been the most successful basketball team in Israel. It is also the fourth-most successful club in European history, and one of the most successful teams of the past decade in European basketball, having won three titles and reached the finals five times in that period.

The team boast a great lineup of legendary past players – native Israelis and American imports – such as Tal Brody, Miki Berkovich, Motti Aroesti, Kevin Magee, Doron Jamchi, Earl Williams, and Aulcie Perry, and more recently Derrick Sharp and Anthony Parker been among the elite of Europe’s basketball players.

But even though I had been a sports fanatic in the US growing up, I’ve failed to attach myself to Israeli sports in the same way. No shame in that – a Red Sox fan can’t change his colors overnight, or in a quarter century.

But that doesn’t mean that my youngest son can’t. Since he started an after-school basketball league this year because his friends were all doing it, he’s become enamored with the game – and with Maccabi TA. So after months of nudging from him, I was finally able to secure a couple tickets to a game this week at their home Nokia Arena.

And, to put it bluntly, it was a blast. From the comfortable on-top-of-the-game arena to the enthusiastic but civilized crowd and the superlative play of the team, it was as much fun for me as going to see the Boston Celtics back in the day.

I don’t know why I waited so long to lose my Israeli basketball virginity, but now that I have, I know it won’t be my last game.

Foto Friday – Jerusalem Ice Festival

It’s zero degrees Celsius here in Jerusalem right now. Commonly known as the temperature at which water freezes, the weather is also a perfect backdrop to the Jerusalem Ice Festival which opens this coming Sunday.

A team of 20 Chinese ice sculptors came to Israel to create the exhibit which is divided into four sections, starting with Jerusalem of Ice where visitors walk through the ice version of Jaffa Gate…

Visit famous Jerusalem sites, like the Tower of David…

Sir Moses Montefiore’s windmill…

…and Montefiore’s carriage (that’s Mayor Nir Barkat inside)…

Or slide down the pride of Kiryat HaYovel, the “Golem” by Niki de Saint Phalle, now recast in crystallized H20!

After the Jerusalem section there are Animals and Childhood Stories, the Fantasy area, the Ice Bar, which features ice-works by local artists and an ice skating rink.

Here’s a quick look at how it all got done…

The Ice Festival takes place from March 6th- April 30th 2012 at the old Jerusalem Train compound. The festival will showcase dozens of ice sculptures, skating rinks and a variety of family-oriented activities. Admission fee is 65 NIS and yes, visitors will receive coats on entering the complex, which will operate at a temperature of -10 degrees Celsius. For more information: Jerusalem Ice Festival.

Nostalgia Sunday – From Hollywood to Holyland

Someone recently sent me a link to one of those time-wasting yet fascinating Internet slide shows, in this case, snapshots of unexpected celebrity combinations. For example, Walt Disney and Salvador Dali. Who’da thunk it? Vivien Leigh and Ringo Starr — who put them together? You wouldn’t have expected to see Charlie Chaplin and Mahatma Gandhi in the same room, let alone in the same frame, would you?

Or would you…? After all, it has long made political sense for leaders in government to cultivate relationships with high-profile celebrities, such as movie stars.

In honor of tonight’s Oscars, we dove into the Israel National Photo Collection and came up with a fistful of pearls, like this shot (by Moshe Pridan) of singer-actor Eddie Fisher chowing down on falafel while on a 1957 visit to the young State of Israel.

Frequent visitor Danny Kaye was snapped clowning around with Arab schoolkids in Nazareth.

While on a visit to Universal Studios in 1964, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and wife Elisheva chatted with movie stars Rock Hudson and Gina Lollobrigida.

Photo by Moshe Pridan

Frank Sinatra made an appearance in an Upper Nazareth kindergarten.

Prime Minister Golda Meir had a tete-a-tete (and a smoke) with actor Gregory Peck and wife Veronique at a 1969 gala dinner hosted by entertainment industry heads in LA.

Photo by Moshe Milner

And the ever-glamorous Elizabeth Taylor met with Prime Minister Menachem Begin and wife Aliza in 1977.

Photo by Yaacov Saar

This above photo was taken at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, but the National Photo Collection has many others of Taylor visiting Israel, including one of her and husband Richard Burton at the Western Wall. There’s also a deer-in-the-headlights shot of Sophia Loren, engulfed by the local paparazzi as she lands at Lydda airport to shoot the movie Judith. Diana Ross serenading Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin? Who’da thunk it?

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